Moni Basu Writes About Mexico Beach in the Aftermath of Hurricane Michael
Moni Basu, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications Michael and Linda Connelly Lecturer for Narrative Nonfiction, is the author of “Can Mexico Beach Be Mexico Beach Again” published on Bittersoutherner.com.
Basu recounts her childhood memories of visiting Mexico Beach with her family. Last fall, the town took the brunt of Hurricane Michael, a Category 5 storm that resulted in the destruction of 85 percent of the homes and businesses.
“Nothing prepared me for my visit. Nothing could.” Basu writes “It’s like getting ready for war. You can’t imagine it; you have to step onto the battlefield to know how it looks and smells, to know the fear. In some parts of Mexico Beach, it feels as though the monster storm hit yesterday. In other parts of Mexico Beach, it feels as though the storm hit an eternity ago, as though a nuclear holocaust left nothing but desolation. Where there were homes, lie concrete slabs, entire lots cleared of the evidence of lives led and the days, weeks and months of terrible loss and suffering.”
Basu adds that residents who once took pride in their slogan, “The Forgotten Coast,” now find it ironic. A new campaign called “Never Forgotten Coast” features a series of online oral histories and photographs and the sale of T-shirts and stickers to raise money for micro-grants for those trying to rebuild.
Basu writes: “Inevitably, new people will move in. Residents hope they won’t all be wealthy city folks who arrive in tinted BMWs and drop bundles of cash into luxury homes that are secondary in their lives.”